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China hosts overseas disaster relief exercise for the first time

(People's Daily Online)    13:20, June 01, 2015
A helicopter takes off from China's marine patrol ship Haixun 31 in the seas near Malaysia's Langkawi Island.(Photo/Xinhua)

From May 24 to 29, 2015, Malaysia and China co-chaired the ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx) 2015, in which more than 4000 people from the 21 members of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and eight other regional and international organizations took part. This DiREx included Table-Top Exercises, Field Training Exercises and Post-Action Reviews, meeting the disaster relief standards of the UN and ASEAN.

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the ARF Disaster Relief Exercise on May 25, 2015: "This DiREx is the first time that China has organized a large-scale disaster relief exercise overseas. We are willing to have discussions with other regional countries on how to build disaster relief cooperation mechanisms that suit the region’s actual needs so as to further enhance regional disaster relief cooperation and secure the interests of the public," he said.

The field training exercise started at 9:15 a.m. on May 26, 2015. China dispatched nearly 600 participants, representing almost all government departments responsible for disaster relief in China, and took part in almost all the exercises, said Zhang Lizhong, director of the General Office under the Preparatory Committee responsible for Chinese participation in DiREx. 

Despite overall stability and fairly rapid development, the Asia-Pacific has witnessed more non-traditional security threats such as natural disasters in recent years, which have emerged as an important factor impacting regional peace and stability. "Asia needs new thinking to deal with these challenges and threats. China's Asian security concept is consistent with ASEAN ideas of cooperative security and common security. We are ready to take this as an opportunity to provide more and better public security products," said Zhang Lizhong.

Zhang Jie, a director at the Asia-Pacific security and diplomacy office of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, expressed the view that DiREx exemplifies the strength of cooperation between Asian countries, though South China Sea issues continue to cast a negative shadow on cooperation between China and some ASEAN countries.


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(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Gao Yinan)

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